Medicine Category

  • Drenching Hoggs

    Adventures, Dog, Lambs, Medicine, SheepComments (1)

    On December 13, 2015 • By

    Over the past few winters, I have had some problems with Liver Fluke – specifically in the lambs that I have been over-wintering.  I have spoken to my vet about this on numerous occasions, and this year I am increasing the regularity of my drenching from every 6 weeks, to every 4.

    There are 2 reasons for this: the primary one being that I would like to reduce losses of ewe hoggs to an absolute minimum.  Nearly all my losses in the past few years have been due to liver fluke, a parasite that is transferred via water snails in wet ground, that feed on the sheeps’ liver.  The secondary reason is business-related. This year we have the Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme, which means I get paid around £73 for every female lamb from 2015 that I overwinter until 31 March 2016.  As a result, I have kept a couple more females this year, so I want to keep on top of any fluke issues – and prevention is way way better than the cure. It’s better to cut out any liver damage before it happens.

    With all this in mind, I have added an extra drenching in my usual rota.  They were drenched in October when they were dipped and normally they wouldn’t get another one until nearer January, but last week I gathered them and drenched them all.  Since dipping, they have all been out in the village park, so Bud and I went out to get them last Saturday (5th).  The green area is the park, the red line is the route I use to walk the sheep, and the blue is their home for the next month.

    route

    We took a wee while to get them all gathered, it’s quite a big park with tough terrain, and the 40mph+ winds meant that Bud couldn’t hear all my commands!  He still enjoyed himself.

    IMG_2846 IMG_2877

    Once in the fank, I separated my own lambs from everyone else’s and gave them their drench, along with a mineral drench.

    IMG_2843

    After this, Bud and I walked them home.

    IMG_2892

    IMG_2915

    That’s them now in towards the shore, in a 1 hectare field that has been empty since September.  The hoggs will be here until the Christmas holidays, then I’ll take them closer to home and start training them to eat feed! January and February are the critical months for surviving the winter, so it’ll be make or break then!

    IMG_2909

     

    Read More
  • A hell of a day

    Adventures, Chickens, Lambs, Medicine, Poultry, Sheep, WeatherComments (0)

    On March 6, 2015 • By

    I’m sitting on my bed at 8pm, just having had a shower and feeling exhausted. Today was an unplanned day off work and I expected to take it reasonably easy, but that wasn’t to be the case.

    We had a gale today, probably 60mph gusts throughout the afternoon, with strong wind and heavy rain all day.

    The ground is totally soaked after relentless rain and is really tough on livestock

    Yesterday, I got a load of big bales delivered, so I took the tractor out for the first time in 2015 and moved the bales to the appropriate fields. All was going smoothly until the tractor got stuck in reverse! Not one to give up when I’m in a working mood, I finished job while drivinng backwards.

    Next, I checked the livestock. One ewe, scanned for twins, was on her back, and had probably been so for several hours.  I righted her and took her out to my parents barn. I noticed a wee bit of blood round her rear, so I phoned the vet to be safe.

     

    The vet gave her the usual injections but also left me some pen & strep to administer over the next few days.

    Fortunately, the blood around the rear was a peck or two by a crow, and not the beginning of her aborting, as I had initially feared. I had hoped it was a peck, but you always fear the worst!

    When he inserted the digital thermometer into her, she was so cold it didn’t get a reading. Looks like I got to her in time. She had a heater beside her for most of the afternoon and was eating when I checked her around 7.

    While the vet was leaving, I noticed 2 hens, who were standing around looking very sorry for themselves.  They were outwith the hen enclosure and totally soaked. They were so cold, they couldn’t move and didn’t look like they’d last long.

    I took both out to my mother and we both sat in front of the fire, drying them and trying to warm them up. I left them with my mother and went to feed the sheep. When I came back,  I was SHOCKED at what I saw.

    I’m so surprised at how well, and quickly, they’ve recovered. They’re in the barn tonight and will be back in the hen house tomorrow.

    That’s not it though, there was also a recently-acquired lamb that was suffering from exposure too. It spent the day between a heater and a heat lamp! It too will be kept inside for a few days.

    Predictions then are then that hens are fine, the lamb should be ok but I’m worried about the ewe. She’ll need some TLC.

    Read More
  • An Duile

    Medicine, SheepComments (1)

    On February 22, 2015 • By

    I did my rounds today and noticed one sheep acting a little funny. Usually they all come running as soon as they hear or see me. Today, most of them were at the fence before I called them, apart from one away on her own. As soon as I called, I saw her ears twitch and she came running, although a little uncertain of herself.

    I lost track of her in amongst the flock, but soon spotted her, and her problem. She was blind in both eyes.

    The eyes go grey and the sheep is temporarily blind. I’m not sure what it’s called in English, but we call it ‘an duile’ in Gaelic.

    As my pickup is off the road, I’m using my dad’s van, giving opportunities to take some selfies before I took her home :)

    Selfie

    Fortunately I have some opticlox in and have treated her. She’ll improve in the next few days. Hopefully the fact that I got her very early will minimise the risk to the rest of the flock.

    It’s not uncommon and I had issues with it in 2012 and also 4/5 sheep last winter, including this same ewe.

    Read More
  • Pedicure

    Agricultre, Medicine, SheepComments (0)

    On July 13, 2014 • By

    I spent a relaxing morning in the fank yesterday, all on my own, tending to the sheep’s feet.

    The hooves of the sheep are like our own nails; always growing. You can get things like foot rot, which causes the sheep pain/discomfort and is not nice. When shearing last week, I noticed a couple of the sheep had longer hooves that needed trimming, so I took them all back into the fank to sort them.

    20140713-094026 am-34826933.jpg

    A before shot

    The shears snip through the hoof easily and the sheep feels no discomfort.

    20140713-094203 am-34923829.jpg

    The end product looks much neater, just the way it should.

    20140713-094259 am-34979205.jpg

    The beauty about our traditional stock management system here, is that things like foot rot are minimised by methods that have been used for generations. Sheep here have traditionally spent part of the winter on the moor. The heather is perfect for cleaning in between their hooves, meaning they are clean and don’t need as much human influence. Mine have just spent 2 weeks in my apportionment, which cleaned out their feet nicely. No sign of foot rot or any diseases, just some superficial trimmings required.

    Read More
  • Injured Ram

    Adventures, Medicine, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On June 15, 2014 • By

    My one remaining intact ram has a broken shoulder!

    20140615-092304 am-33784306.jpg

    I had the vet over for the vasectomy for the other ram, so I asked him to have a look at this one, as he had a limp and I couldn’t figure out what was causing it.

    He started at his hoof and worked his way up the joints until he figured his shoulder was broken! I felt it myself and could feel it click when pressure was applied. He’s been like this for a couple of months but will hopefully be ok for autumn. It’s his front right that is affected, meaning he should still be ok to serve ewes. If a ram injured his rear leg, he’s not much use, but front in manageable (rear takes the weight when he mounts a ewe). We’ll keep an eye on him and the vet will check him in a couple of months.

    Read More
  • Vasectomy (for the ram!)

    Adventures, Agricultre, birth, Medicine, Rams, SheepComments (0)

    On June 15, 2014 • By

    I now have a ‘teaser’ ram. One of my friends told me about his a few years ago, but I didn’t pay much attention to teasers, until I saw the affect it had on my neighbour’s lambing last year; numerous sheep lambing each day, while I was having a max of 2/3.

    Anyway, the process is quite simple. A ram is given a vasectomy and this does strange things to the sheep! The teaser is put in with the ewes 10 days before the ‘intact’ rams. This brings the ewes into season and also synchronises their systems, meaning your lambing period is much tighter. This year I was up at 5am 39 times in 42 days. I was exhausted. Hopefully next year won’t be anywhere near 42 days!

    The process with the ram was quite simple.

    1. Choose a ram

    I have this ram lamb from last year. Wasn’t sure what to do with him, as he is related to too many of my sheep, so this was an easy decision.

    20140615-091533 am-33333778.jpg

    2. Get the vet out

    I made the appointment when Bud was over for his own ‘sensitive’ operation. The vet wanted it booked as soon as possible, to avoid fly strike. Suits me, so we got it done the following week.

    I had to sit an hold the ram, while the vet did his thing. The animal is given a sedative, the area is given a local anaesthetic and then cleaned.

    The job takes around an hour and I’ve been told it’s similar to the process on humans. Tubes from the testes are snipped and a length removed, to ensure it doesn’t grow back and repair itself.

    20140615-091739 am-33459690.jpg

    20140615-091740 am-33460633.jpg

    20140615-091741 am-33461579.jpg

    20140615-091742 am-33462005.jpg

    Quick and painless for the animal. It will actually mean he will have a nice long life here now, given that I won’t have to move him on. Fingers crossed this all works now!

    Read More
  • Drenching & vaccinating

    Agricultre, Chickens, chicks, eggs, Lambs, Medicine, SheepComments (1)

    On May 25, 2014 • By

    I’m quite sore and tired from all the work yesterday; every single sheep drenched and all the lambs vaccinated.

    It was a miserable morning, so I didn’t get started with the sheep until nearly 2pm. I got the hens out of the way in the morning, cleaning out the hen house and topping up feed & water. All under the watchful eye of Bud and the relaxing cat

    20140525-105356 am-39236554.jpg

    I also removed a trio of birds that I am going to breed from. I hatched these Speckled Sussex from eggs I got online last spring. Fantastic birds and I’m going to hatch a batch of my own now.

    20140525-105632 am-39392385.jpg

    So on to the sheep. They are split into 4 smaller flocks, to spread them amongst the crofts. That means more work gathering and penning them. We’d probably have been done in an hour, had they all been together.

    Uisdean passed the lambs to me and I doses, injected and checked them all.

    20140525-105826 am-39506835.jpg

    We worked quite well and efficiently, just the way I like it!

    20140525-105907 am-39547429.jpg

    Uisdean is volunteering with me as part of his Duke of Edinburgh award. He is down most weeks and enjoys working with the sheep. He’s considering getting a couple of his own, which I think is a great idea

    Read More
  • Blindness

    Adventures, Agricultre, Lambs, Medicine, SheepComments (1)

    On March 25, 2014 • By

    So I’ve been away for a few days and I’m greeted on my return by 11 sheep suffering from ‘an duille’, when the eye goes kind of grey/opaque and the sheep goes temporarily blind (as long as she’s treated).

    20140325-042455 pm.jpg

    This picture is one of the two sheep that are suffering the most, the others are only showing slight symptoms.

    It’s not unusual, especially during wet weather. The problem is that it’s highly contagious, so it’s spread between sheep when they’re close together for feeding. I’ve had similar issues before, triggered by an eye which burst and spread infection, but this isn’t as bad.

    I had to move the sheep to their lambing fields today, anyway, so I penned them while I was doing that. My father thought he spotted 4 with it, but I found another 7. They have been separated from the rest of the flock and will be treated with opticlox over the next few days.

    I have no concerns about the sheep, they and their lambs will be fine. I hope.

    Read More
  • Eye problems – the bright side

    Agricultre, Medicine, Rams, SheepComments (1)

    On January 26, 2014 • By

    I had a great day on Saturday, lots of work to be done and all day to myself. Just perfect.

    I was on a bit of a high after making my brilliant discovery earlier and carried on with my croft work.

    I had to move all the sheep, as they had been in their current fields for long enough, so set about doing that before the weather worsened. One of the sheep I have is a little old, she should probably have been cast last year, but I gave her one more chance. When she approached me, I noticed she had lost some condition, so I decided to take her closer to the house, so that she gets additional feed. As I enticed her to the gate, I noticed another with some discharge around her eye.

    image (7)

    Some of you may remember I had really bad eye problems last winter, with nearly 1/3 of my flock suffering from infections. That had all started from one gimmer who returned from the moor with a burst eye. This then caused major problems with the sheep and I remember burying an animal on each of the 4 Saturdays in January 2013. Majorly depressing.

    I’m taking no chances with this, even though I think it’s just a little conjunctivitis. She has been taken home, along with the one that lost some condition, and another that was limping. I’ll keep an eye on the 15 others she was with and speak to the vet tomorrow about treatment.

    image (10)

    I’m quite relaxed about it, I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.

    I moved the rest of the sheep, after this. They were quite keen to move onto fresh grazing.

    image (9)

    I also went out to feed the rams in the village park. I feed them once a week, or so, just so that they are friendly enough and it allows me to keep an eye on them.

    image (8)

    Read More